Indian Affairs:

Information on the Office of Hearings and Appeals' Indian Cases

RCED-86-174FS: Published: Jun 30, 1986. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of the Interior's Office of Hearings and Appeals' (OHA) Indian and non-Indian cases for 1984 and 1985, specifically new cases assigned to the OHA Contract, Indian, and Land Appeals Boards, including the: (1) number of cases each OHA appeals board received; (2) number of case closures and the average case-processing time; (3) number of cases subsequently appealed to federal courts; and (4) type of and criteria for assigning cases to particular boards of appeal.

GAO noted that, in 1984 through 1985, the three appeals boards received 2,470 cases, 354 for the Board of Contract Appeals, 118 for the Board of Indian Appeals, and 1,998 for the Board of Land Appeals. GAO found that: (1) the boards closed 2,055 of the 2,470 cases, including 152 of the Indian cases; (2) the time spent processing cases varied from 40 to 254 days; (3) 29 non-Indian and 5 Indian cases were appealed to federal courts; (4) the Board of Contract Appeals conducts hearings on government contract appeals; (5) the Board of Indian Appeals conducts hearings on administrative actions and decisions protesting most Indian-rights violations and probate appeals; (6) the Board of Land Appeals conducts hearings on decisions relating to the use and disposition of public lands and their resources; and (7) OHA had a total operating fund of $11.6 million for fiscal years 1984 and 1985 to support a staff of 37 to 41 judges and other appeals board staff.

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